Southwestern Barley Salad

Can you believe it’s August already?  I know everyone always says that about every month (insert some profound statement about the passage of time and human existence here), but for I promise it’s really true this time! I really can’t believe August is here.  August is going to be a huge month of change for me.  A few posts ago I mentioned that I have worked my last day at a urology practice. Why?  Because in about two weeks I am making my first big move of my adult life and starting a new chapter in my life.This fall semester I will start a PhD counseling psychology program in Lubbock, Texas.  For the next five to seven years it will be my new home as I learn how to be a psychologist, as both a researcher and therapist.  I won’t lie: I’m a little nervous.  Pretty nervous.  Actually, really nervous.  A combination of nervous and excited (depending on when you ask me I lean one way or the other).  It’ll be my first time I actually really and truly live away from my parents and my only home, and I am starting my career.  All this sounds a lot more adult than I feel.

All this change has led to lots of reflection about my life and what I want it to be.  All these life musings have also led me to think about my identity as a cook/kitchen frequenter and my blog.  What kind of food blog am I, and what is my “POV” on food?  Even in the past two years and fumbling around the kitchen and past year(!) of posting on this blog, I have already changed and learned so much.  After some thought, here is my sum up of my food world: healthy, affordable, seasonal (most of the time), and fun.  I like making things completely from scratch and easy, no fuss dishes.  I love trying new foods and revisiting classics.

Starting this new PhD program will probably mean posting will become a little more intermittent, but cooking and blogging have become some a big part of my life that I can’t imagine not doing it.  I plan on making myself keep it all up, but I may not be able to experiment as much as I have been able to these past months.   After all, I am about to become a home cook and a grad student with little time, even less money, and will always be on the go.

Okay, enough rambling: on to this southwestern barley salad.  This is very indicative of my type of food.  With this dish I tried barley for the first time and fell in love.  Barley, a cheap but filling grain that adds a chewy and nutty flavor, is combined with fresh summer produce and tossed in a light vinaigrette.  As I eat mostly meatless now, this is a perfect dinner for me, but  it would also be fantasic as a side with something from your barbeque for you carnivores.  Also, I am not the world’s biggest fan of tomatoes or avocados (I know, for shame), but I love this.

 

SOUTHWESTERN BARLEY SALAD
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS
For the Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime zest
Pinch of salt
For the Salad:
2 1/2 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup dried pearled barley
2 tablespoon butter, divided

1 red onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 ears of corn
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 small avocados, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro, chopped
DIRECTIONS
For the Vinaigrette:
In a large serving bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, and lime zest.  Whisk together.  Season with salt to taste if needed and set aside.
For the Salad:
In a large saucepan combine water, bouillion, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and add pearled barley.  Cook according to package instructions (30-45 minutes typically).  Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon butter.  Add onion and a pinch of salt.  Cook until onion is tender, 7-9 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add corn and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add cherry tomatoes, smoked paprika and cumin.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, until tomatoes are slightly broken down.  Season with salt and pepper.
Whisk vinaigrette.  Transfer salad into bowl with vinaigrette.  Add avocado and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish.

 

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